Map Nicaragua
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Nicaragua


Background: The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra was elected president in 2006. The 2008 municipal elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt, but democratic institutions have been weakened under the ORTEGA administration.
Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
Area land: 119,990 sq km
Area water: 10,380 sq km
Coastline: 910 km
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua
Country name conventional short form: Nicaragua
Country name former: Republic of Nicaragua
Population: 5,666,301 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.7% (male 913,905/female 879,818); 15-64 years: 63.8% (male 1,743,591/female 1,874,025); 65 years and over: 4.5% (male 116,153/female 138,809) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 1.088% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 19.46 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 5.03 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -3.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female; total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 22.64 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 25.94 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 19.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.9 years; male: 69.82 years; female: 74.09 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.12 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 6,900 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 500 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Nicaraguan(s); adjective: Nicaraguan;
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%;
Religions: Roman Catholic 58.5%, Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%, Jehovah's Witness 0.9%, other 1.7%, none 15.7% (2005 census);
Languages: Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census);

note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 67.5%; male: 67.2%; female: 67.8% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $17.34 billion (2010 est.); $16.87 billion (2009 est.); $17.12 billion (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $6.375 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 2.8% (2010 est.); -1.5% (2009 est.); 2.8% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,900 (2010 est.); $2,900 (2009 est.); $3,000 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 17.6%; industry: 26.5%; services: 56% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 48% (2005);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.4%; highest 10%: 41.8% (2005);
Labor force: 2.343 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 28%; industry: 19%; services: 53% (2010 est.);
Unemployment rate: 8% (2010 est.); 8.2% (2009 est.);
note: underemployment was 46.5% in 2008

Budget: revenues: $1.421 billion; expenditures: $1.511 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood;
Industrial production growth rate: 1.5% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 3.286 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 2.569 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 63.95 million kWh (2007 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.



(Weekly political analysis magazine), Managua

El Nuevo Diario

(Left-wing, pro-Sandinista), Managua

La Prensa Nicaragua

(Conservative), Managua

Nicaragua in the News

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Displaying 1 to 4 of 8 items.

Nicaragua: China's Canal in Latin America

Nicaragua is moving forward on an Atlantic-Pacific canal that would dwarf the Panama Canal in capacity, and China has plenty to gain by backing the project.

Nicaragua Strengthens Economic Ties with Europe

Recent meetings and agreements signal that European countries may increase investment in energy and infrastructure projects in Nicaragua.

The Second Coming of Daniel Ortega

Since projecting Daniel Ortega into the presidency, poverty-stricken Nicaragua seemed to have been granted an older, more traditional version of Daniel Ortega, seasoned revolutionary.

Latin America Shifts to the Center-Left

Anti-Bush demonstrations in Santiago, Chile highlight a new political trend in Latin America - where many countries are moving to the center-left as the United States takes a sharp turn to the right